Ugly, Costly and Dangerous Gas Pipe

[Picture of partially buried gas main pipe in argyle st glasgow]GAS SUPPLIES ARE A SERIOUS BUSINESS — or are they?

Click on the picture to enlarge — Just what is going on here? This is a picture of a new gas main supply being laid under Argyle Street — a really congested and busy road in the middle of Glasgow city centre. Does it look ‘right’ to you? Does this pipework arrangement look ‘normal’?

To my untrained eye, it seems a long way to go for a shortcut!  As far as I can make out, the blue bits indicate the start and finish points of connection for the branch pipe.  The distance between the blue valves looks quite short — so I wonder why they have decided to take the branch for a run; it goes off in the wrong direction, double backs over the main pipe, bends again to go in the right direction, then bends yet again to cross over yet again before the connection is made.

I do not claim to be an expert in pipework, nor am I CORGI approved to talk about supplying natural gas, but this arrangement caught my eye as I passed, and in my judgement, the shortest distance between these two points would have been more logical, more sensible, and probably a lot cheaper and safer too.

Let’s imagine that it couldn’t be done as the pipe is inflexible, and the connection points are too close together to allow for standard fittings and bends — well then, that simply shows that the blue valves and branches have been located too close together; it is, remember, all new pipework, so it would have been far better to have located everything relatively and properly.

Things are getting worse when journeymen and draughtsmen are overlooked in favour of probably cheap foreign labourers.  In bygone times, this would certainly not have been considered acceptable under any test from cost to aesthetics. This is an ugly solution, thank goodness it is buried and out of sight… but it makes you wonder about other crazy solutions elsewhere!

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22 Responses to “Ugly, Costly and Dangerous Gas Pipe”

  1. James Fisk Says:

    Hi, i’m a gas engineer form essex, just wanted to defend whoever laid that, lol. First off that white isnt tape, its the exposed polyethalene pipe, the pipe is called pro fuse and comes with that yellow layer to identify it as a gas main, it has to be peeled back for the fusion process to join the pipe. secondly, looking at at angles the pipe has to pass this isnt an unreasonable path, the fact is that hard 90 degree bends reduce pressure in the main, since we have a duty to supply a minimum of 19mb at the ECV we try to keep the maximum flow rate in the main itself, this small extra distance in a gasmans eyes, although alot of extra work, can be justified. Also i dont think its advisable to make 90 degree turns using butt fusion, because of the high stress on the joint, cheers

  2. Donald Says:

    I disagree Mr Fisk. I don’t think it matters whether the bends were hard 90 degree elbows; the problem is the ROUTE. It goes from a point in the middle of the picture to a point at the bottom left of the picture.

    Put it this way: why does the branch leave at 90 degrees, through a valve, then turn back, over, across, round, up and over to the blue valve?

    It would have been better to have located the branch further along, making the point to point easier, with less run and fewer bends (ie less resistance or pressure drop).

    Fact is that the branch was sited badly, hence the crazy route!

  3. Mr. Contractor Says:

    I can not be sure from the picture but I believe this is the answer to your question. Very simply the offset rquired to get from the brach connection to the other valve is too small and can not be made using the standard 90 elbow. Therfore in order to get the job done the installer had no choice to get the job done.

  4. JP Gas main layer 10yr exp. Says:

    Firstly it is NOT all new pipework. What we see is an underpressure tee from an exsisting 400mmPe80 pipe using new 180mmPe100 pipe(estimate size judging by the size of top tees). Quite a difficult task in a city centre street crammed with EXSISTING PIPES & CABLES, so it is impressive that he has managed to get his tee so close to the new mains. Also notice that the water main is preventing horizontal laying of the second valve which means that extra bends NEEDED to be used to keep the dozy eastender from tripping over the pipe which would have been above ground had the expertly skilled Main Layer not CORRECTLY chosen to do his job and use the additional bends to complete an akward tie in. Regarding cheap foreign labour: I work in Dublin where the Gas Standard is slighly lower than UK and we have our fair share of cheap foreign labour but none of them get any closer to a gas main than the idiot who took this picture. In future when strolling up Argyle St. why not stick to checking out all the pretty women (as I do) instead of applying your poor judgement to a very difficult and demanding job…

  5. Gas main workie Says:

    I think the picture speaks for itself and does not lie. There seems to be existing branches to be connected to by the brand new main. Obviously the new main is not carrying gas yet, and the existing branches are not under mains pressure (because they are not connected to the gas main – obviously). So it’s not dangerous during the installation – relax! It’s not even dangerous when covered in, at working pressure, and the road is in use.

    Having said that, it is a terrible job! It definitely could have been done better, neater, cheaper and marginally safer too.

    All that has to be done when laying new pipe, is to make sure that your tee offs are located to suit connecting to the existing, isolated branch pipes.

    If you mess up, you can either (a) fix the main or (b) do what the photo shows – which is probably cheaper in the long run and which is why it was left like that.

    I have worked in this field all my life, and I have seen bad practice like this but also a lot worse!! Compared with some arrangements, this is a reasonable job. It’s all down to cutting corners, foreign and cheap labour, and low standards.

    I always enjoy your blog, it surprises me what is out there and what you ladies seem to notice on a daily basis. Keep up the good work!

    • Jimmy Doc Says:

      You are not a gas main layer mate I know that for sure!

  6. Jean Says:

    The people who dig up the streets are only one step away from living on them in my opinion. Lets face it, if they were brainier they would be doing something else. The problem lies with poor management of these thick poles and irish navvys. Nothing surprises me any more. Did you see the news story on road worker poor workmanship on clipped news site???
    http://clippednews.wordpress.com/2006/03/21/over-half-of-road-repairs-need-repairing/

    • James Simpson Says:

      actually the people who dig up the streets are highly trained and it is a hard job consisting or many requirements to do with pressures and so on, i do this job and am clever got good gcse’s and enjoy the job, this job is for people who do proper jobs instead of been couped up in an office pushing paper all day.

    • John Goodselll Says:

      Well Well Jean….You do have a bad attitude to your fellow people…, some people choose to work in civils for the enjoyment. I, personally, had a PAID EDUCATION, at a very posh PREP SCHOOL, yet CHOSE not to be a LAWYER, as my mother would have wanted, but instead purchased a JCB to dig up roads for the gas contractors. I am also a qualified lighting engineer, & have certificates from the English speaking board for stage presentation. I wonder what job you do…( miss shelf stacker in tescos perhaps ???? )

    • phil whitear Says:

      let me tell you jean i dig up the streets as you say as an experienced gas mainlayer, i own a half million pound house own a new porsche 911 and a new bmw 7 series for the wife, so im far from living on the street tosser

  7. daragh Says:

    wel jean wot u on about people have no brians that work on the roads why is your husband a briany man is he or if ya have 1 4 that matter! i work on the gas myself 4 a long time digging up roads and i bet my paypacket is more richer than yours husbands is wot is he a shirt and tie man is he and pretends his little surbaun office job is prefact is it YA RITE GO ASK ME BACKSIDE ONLY 4 THE LIKES OF US NAVVYS (AS U CALL US) HE WOULDNT BE IN A JOB ITS OUR INDUSTRY THAT KEEPS THE LIKES OF U TOFFEE NOSE PEOPLE IN A JOB REMEMBER THAT!

  8. gas main layer Says:

    the picture dose look to be a bit of a mess but im prety sure the lad that did this was told to for some reason by his agent/enginer. as for your comment JEAN!!!!! th roads dont get excavated for no reason the pipeline industry needs re newing all over uk-ire so go back to makin you cups of tea and watching day time tv u grumpy old bag!!!

  9. Barnie Says:

    Roads get excavated for no reason, except for getting rid of money in kitty before new financial year.

    • James Simpson Says:

      actually the companys pay for the reinstatement of the holes

    • The Aussie Gas Doctor Says:

      Barnie needs to loosen his grip before the knob falls off!

  10. sandra Says:

    For the attention of Jean, I have never heard such nastiness in all my life, I am Irish myself and proud of rmy oots. My husband is one of what you think as low life. He works hard in every weather to ensure that narrow minded people like yourself have heat. Only after your comments maybe you should be left to freeze.
    ps you should come to Ireland and learn some manners and respect for others.

  11. sandra Says:

    For the attention of Jean, I have never heard such nastiness in all my life, I am Irish myself and proud of my roots. My husband is one of what you think as low life. He works hard in every weather to ensure that narrow minded people like yourself have heat. Only after your comments maybe you should be left to freeze.
    ps you should come to Ireland and learn some manners and respect for others.

  12. nichola o'sullivan Says:

    Am really surprised that none of you gas people noticed that this is A TEMPORARY BRANCHING SADDLE, and is only there to keep the main live while the services are transferred so that when the lay is complete the old main can be abandonded from the PURGE POINT – and no, i’m not an engineer.

  13. Diane Says:

    Just to say that the Gas Board has now replaced all the gas pipe along the length of Argyle Street, and are also working along the pedestrian precinct at Sauchiehall Street.

    The work in your photographs can only have been a temporary repair or connection to do until the major works got under way.

  14. The Aussie Gas Doctor Says:

    Well done Nichola O’sullivan, it is clearly a temporary bypass to keep the old main live until all tie-ins and service reconnects are done, on decommissioning, the fiitings will be removed and re-used elsewhere if servicable.For all the would be know alls why not ask if you dont know! Using PE pipe maybe cheaper but can make installation difficult, electofusion couplings and transition pieces are manufactured and cannot be modified, if the distance between two points for example is 500mm and the fiitings required to join is 600mm you do the math! It may look ugly but then IF JEAN LOOKED IN THE MIRROR SHE WOULD SEE WHAT UGLY IS! and if you have more money than us ditch diggers Jean, why not buy yourself another name because jean is a real crap name you old slag! ps. i love commenting on old posts!

  15. gas man Says:

    jean i hope you are dead by now if not here goes .u must b some penpushing rugmunching lesbian u call road workers u clearly have no brain if i ever replace your leeking gas pipe to your property because you and your family are in danger i might think twice jean oh and by the way everyone jeans got clap

  16. phil whitear Says:

    to the posts about temporary branches, if you were gas engineers you would know that even temporary pipes should still be treated as permanent because at the end of the day they are still carrying natural gas, distances etc of fittings and joints are still applicable


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